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The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) acknowledges that addiction is a medically recognized condition that affects more than 20 percent of all pregnant women per year. Addiction is the persistent compulsive use of a substance known to be physically, psychologically or socially harmful and includes addiction to substances such as tobacco, alcohol, prescription medications, and illicit drugs. In pregnancy, addiction to one or more of these substances constitutes a significant health problem.

ACNM supports a health care system where women with addictions in pregnancy are treated with compassion, not punishment. This care should occur within a multidisciplinary environment that provides holistic care for the pregnant woman in the context of her social environment and where consideration of the health risks is paramount.

Recognizing that substance use in pregnancy is a disease that requires a team approach to treatment, ACNM supports legislation that:

  • Protects the rights of women with addictions to seek health care without fear of criminal retribution.
  • Encourages the development of public health programs to address innovative interventions to treat addictions in pregnancy.
  • Promotes education and research into this significant public health issue.

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